The inspiration for this post came from Paul Jarvis via his recent Sunday Dispatch. His weekly newsletter was a "state of the union" address - the "union" being his life and work. It was interesting and vulnerable, and I liked the idea so much that I thought, "I could do that, too."
Of course, doing that means being vulnerable, because 2018 was a tough year emotionally for me. Then again, being vulnerable is what allows me to be seen as a multi-faceted embodied soul. So, here we go.
Overall, it was a good year business-wise. It would have been better if I'd been able to get out of my own way - especially from May through August. (More on that in the personal section.) As is typical of me, I changed things up periodically - from offerings to website design.
Huge milestone for me: by year's end, I had over 1,100 blog posts on my site. Holy Hannah. That's a lot of words.
In January, in the energetic high of the new year, I added a number of new offerings to my services. I loved seeing an array of options available for clients. One by one, though, I removed them over the course of six months. It felt like too much; too wide of a reach; too many things. By the end of July, all the new offerings - plus one more - were gone and my current core offerings remained.
My guides urged me to offer a special love-focused reading in honor of Valentine's Day. I wrote out their channeled details, and yet balked at doing it. Why? Maybe because relationships of the heart can - like everything else in life - be so very changeable. Also... What about self-love, that place where love needs to start? Suffice to say, the reading never went live. (They're already urging me to do it this year. We'll see.)
In April, I took an Instagram-centric heart-centered marketing course. It was beautifully done, and I learned a lot from the two instructors. I was hoping it would help me to get on board with a certain style or theme for IG images, and it did that... for a while. (Typical of me.) By the end of the calendar year, I found myself wandering away from the design I'd committed to. Now, I'm itching to try something different. (We'll see what that looks like.)
June marked my third annual Pay What You Can Day on the 21st - the Summer Solstice (and my middle brother's birthday). I don't remember what inspired me to begin this annual event, and yet I'm grateful for it. There's something very personal about it, even though it's for outreach to show gratitude for - well - everything. As with previous years, many people took advantage of it. I love that.
In August, I lowered the prices on my services. It wasn't something I planned. It just came to me one day, seemingly out of the blue as guidance often does, and I went with it. (And even though I was given a heads-up that the prices would go back up in the new year, they've yet to do so.)
I believe it was in October when I was guided to change the frequency of my SoulLetter. It went from sending once a week to sending on the new and full moons. That still feels really good.
I also tried out a different email service provider for a month. While I liked it to a degree, it felt too cumbersome - and not just because it's expensive. Not only that, the legwork it took to move my list, and then move it again, ate up valuable time, which is irksome. This penchant of mine to try the latest and greatest software and service providers will be tamped down during this depth year.
In November, during Thanksgiving week, I introduced Out With the Old, In With the New as an end-of-year service. I hope my clients enjoyed experiencing them as much as I enjoyed facilitating them.
In December, the week before Christmas, I opened up New Year Theme readings and completed a small deluge of them before 2018 ended. That final flurry of activity felt as though it "sealed the deal" on the professional aspect of the year.
2018 was a tough year for me, personally. Part of its toughness revolved around my own mental health. The other part of its toughness revolved around my mom's overall well-being (which also impacted my mental health).
February marked the first anniversary of my dad's passing. While I felt the weight of the anniversary, I didn't focus on it. The biggest impact fell on my dad's birthday, just four days before the anniversary.
It was very weird and hard not picking up the phone to call him and sing "Happy Birthday" to him, and not to send him a card. It felt really good, though, to realize that I likely wouldn't focus on his "deathday" over honoring his birthday, going forward. (Right now, it feels like they may receive equal honoring, which is sort of beautiful.)
I'm endlessly grateful for the intuitive knowing that had me save his last birthday voicemail for me, so I can hear his voice - singing included - when I wish.
I mentioned in my business summary that in April, I took a soulful, Instagram-centric marketing course. It was amazing and beautiful. And it was inspiring and helpful right up until the part when I got way, way, waaaay into my head and ego over:
- what I thought I was "supposed" to be doing and
- how I thought I was "supposed" to be doing it and
- the way I thought it was "supposed" to look...
...all to do with my work in this lifetime.
Oh. my. word.
I plummeted into the depths of a suckhole of my own fabrication, and dwelled there for the better part of four months. No joke. I haven't experienced a depressive incident of that magnitude since 2003-2004. (It was worse in 2003-2004, and yet this was right up there.) I entered the hermit's cave, where it felt safe, at my spirit team's encouragement, alongside the suckhole, and stayed there for the rest of the year.
A family dinner in mid-June that included family from both the East and West coasts was a beacon of light in the self-induced darkness. Spending time with people I've known all my life was super sweet, even as I was careful to hold the boundaries that were keeping me in one piece.
My dear Auntie Jan passed of Alzheimer's disease in July. Her funeral fell on my mom's birthday, which was utterly traumatic for Mom - so much so that she collapsed at the end of the post-funeral graveside service. Mom's collapse was another symptom of a slow decline in her overall health. (Thankfully, she wasn't hurt. Also, there was a paramedic at the funeral who checked her out on site. Miraculous.)
August was a turning point, for me. As sucky as the suckhole was, it served a purpose alongside the not-sucky and totally purposeful hermit's cave.
Around mid-month, I implemented an important change that sparked a slow and cautious ascent from the suckhole. Shortly thereafter, I attended Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again with my Ya-Yas, who I hadn't gathered with since January. It was awesome. I laughed and I cried during the movie, and I laughed and got a little weepy at dinner after the movie.
It was just what I needed, at the time.
In September my ascent from the suckhole continued, in spite of a scary incident involving my mom. On my birthday, she decided to make a single batch of her famous doughnuts. Toward the end of the process, she got really dizzy and wisely decided to take a seat in the dining room. She didn't make it to the chair.
She passed out on the floor, somehow managing to miss hitting her head on the hutch and corner cabinet on her way down. Miraculously, she didn't bruise anything other than her pride. (I swear she was helped by angels.)
This was yet another wake-up call around her health, and so... I asked my mom to leave a birthday voicemail for me the day after my birthday, due both to the fainting incident and also due to a gentle intuitive hit. No more to say about this, right now.
In October, right around the time the Red Sox won the World Series (woohoo!), I realized I had cleared the suckhole. Woohoo, times two! My favorite season of the year came through for me.
November started with me going with the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) flow. I clocked 11,111 words (no joke!) in a new book before it fell by the wayside. However, part of my depth year includes finishing what I've started - including that book and at least one other.
My mom falling face-first on a gym floor where voting for the general election was held. She caught the rubber toe of her shoe on the floor, creating enough of a stop that she fell, with no time to defend herself. She bruised her ribs and knees, and her nose to a point that she ended up with a black eye. It was awful for her and another wake-up call for me.
December was, overall, a gentle month. I love Christmas, as does most of my family, and so honoring it is pleasurable. Our annual family Christmas party, complete with Santa's visit, was fun and festive. The jar candles I made - two dozen of them! - were well-received, which was sweet.
December's one "scar" came mid-month, and it was a big one. My mom did something uncharacteristic with some important paperwork. The action was due to increased short-term memory loss. When she realized what she'd done, she had an emotional meltdown that peaked with her saying, "I've become a stupid person."
That was just so sad. After several hours, she was able to express that she was feeling better, and acknowledged her understanding that it wasn't stupidity. She agreed to take each day as it came, with as much self-compassion as possible.
Christmas Day was festive and sweet, from start to finish. New Year's Eve day, my stepfather had a procedure to remove skin cancer from the top of his left ear. (A place we all might want to remember to put sunscreen, moving forward. Both ears, please.) The procedure was successful, and he exited 2018 cancer-free.
Around 10:00 pm on New Year's Eve, I stuck to my beloved tradition of lighting candles, and drawing cards while writing page after page after page in my journal. It's my final way of anchoring the 2019 energies and releasing the 2018 energies. By 12:30 am on New Year's Day I was complete.
The Soul Ways
In case there's any question, the soul ways are the old ways. They're the intuitive and tuned-in ways. They're the ways of our long-ago ancestors, who flowed with the cycles and rhythms and seasons of nature - Earth's and their own.
2018 found me being even more tuned in to the cycles of nature and what those cycles meant energetically. For the first time that I can remember, I actually took steps to honor the energy of the various seasons. Rather than pushing myself to do and do, I paid attention to the aspects of doing and being. That's something I look forward to deepening this year.
Spring and Summer
I also noticed a lot - a whole lot - more spirit and elemental energy in my home. There was a time it was limited to my bedroom/office. Not any more. They've "branched out," as my guides tell me, and so I feel them everywhere in the house. As familiar as I am with the various sensations that accompany these energies, I can still be startled when...
- a hand touches me on the arm as I'm making oatmeal or
- an elemental settles into my lap or plays with my hair in the living room
In addition, I began seeing these energies - not just feeling them. What I see isn't a defined form, for the most part, even though it's obvious. Instead, it's...
- sometimes like an animated depiction of wind, which appears as a swatch of moving sheer white energy;
- sometimes like a grayish overlay moving in front of furniture and other objects;
- on one occasion something that reminded me of a stuffed animal, of sorts, except see-through.
Another cool way I see them is when I'm lying in bed at night, eyes closed in the darkness, and suddenly my eyelids become illuminated by an energy beside me. I open my eyes to the same darkness I closed them to. No outside lights creating the illumination, and no passing cars. It's so cool.
This is when I noticed an interesting addition to my intuitive repertoire. It started after Samhain - Halloween - which, by the way, I enjoyed celebrating more than I ever have.
I'd be thinking about a certain topic, and then it was like a train changing tracks. Suddenly a completely different topic would take over - usually in a sort of storyboard format. Within a relatively short time - a few hours or maybe a day - that storyboard would come to life, so to speak.
Unlike deja vu, I didn't have a complete sensory memory as it unfolded. Instead, I witnessed it, then typically said something like, "Well, that's interesting."
It continued with seemingly greater frequency (probably because I became more aware of it). It's taken me until now to understand how to identify the "storyboard" when it presents itself. (Something for a separate post.)
The Winter Solstice felt beautiful and rich and hopeful. For me, that was the entry - the gateway - to the new year more than the turning of the calendar itself. And choosing to invest in a depth year for 2019 feels as ripe as the new year's energy of The Empress.
Whew. That's a lot.
It actually felt really good to write all that out - to illuminate it. Even though 2018 held a whole lot of discomfort, there was comfort to offset it, which is most important.
Here's to a more even-keeled, abundant and nurturing 2019. Blessings be.